Preparing for Interviews June E Kay Careers Development Consultant Postdoctoral Research Staff
INTERVIEWS • You can assume that, because you’ve got past the application form/CV : • They feel that you can do the job • That they want to know more about you • So why select further? • To assess the knowledge that you have marketed in your initial application • To evaluate your transferable skills under pressure • To judge how you would fit into their organisation • BUT It is also an opportunity for you to judge • whether you want to work for them
TOUGH QUESTIONS • Why do you want to work for…? • What is it about the position that you most like? • Take me through a task that you have completed from beginning to end? • Was it successful? Why? • What were the main obstacles that you had to overcome?
TOUGH QUESTIONS • What would you describe as your greatest strength? • What would you say is your major weakness? • What would you say is your greatest achievement and why? • Give me an example of when you have worked in a team and tell me what role you took on? • What are the current issues facing…?
Tough Academic Questions • Where do you see yourself in 5 years time? • Who are the leading researchers in your field worldwide? Are any of them willing to work with you? • What innovations in teaching would you like to implement given sufficient resources? • What are the 5 most outstanding advances in your field in the last 5 years?
Preparation • Re-read the job advert, application pack, job description • What skills have they asked for? • What personal qualities are desired? • What type of organisation are they? (ethos, management style, culture) • Review CV or application form & covering letter • How do you meet the criteria / where are there gaps? • What would you ask if you were them? • Are there any weaknesses you might be probed upon? • What probing questions might they give about your answers • What other action did you consider? • What might you do differently the next time? etc
Research • Company • Products they make / sell • Locations • Clients • Turnover • World Ranking (if multi-national) • Main competitors • Recent expansions / contracts won / cut backs / mergers • Sector • Upturn / downturn profits • Effect of new technology or legislation • Market leaders • Academic • Institution, Department, staff, Higher Education issues, subject issues
YOUR INTERPERSONALSKILLS / REACTIONS • What impression are you hoping to create? • Dress code: • formal/informal • ‘company culture’ • Body Language • handshake • eye contact • mannerisms • open/close posture • Smile
Academic Interview Format • Panel Interview – 4/5/6 members, • Impartial Chair – represent the interests of the university not dept. • Head of Department • Head of Section (research group / area of teaching) • Member of different department– lateral comparability • Questions split according to panel members area of interest and map onto person specification
Non-Academic Interview Format • Individual interviews or a panel interview • One in a series or one off interview • Technical Head of Department, Human Resources, Occupational Psychologist • Part of Assessment centre? • Other tasks – group activities, presentation, in-tray / e-tray exercise
YOUR INTERPERSONALSKILLS / REACTIONS • What approach are the interviewers adopting? • style of questions • pace of interview • body language inc. note taking • friendly/business like
Competency Based Questions • Situation • Task • Action • Result
Final Tips • Be yourself • Give interesting examples to questions that they ask • Be willing to expand on any responses that you make • Don’t be thrown by the unexpected question • Stay calm • Buy time to think • Remain positive throughout • Show them that you are right for the position and for them! • At the end of the interview think about what impression you want to leave with them: • ‘If you can’t think of good questions [to ask them] don’t ask stupid ones.’ Ian Jackson BT